Dateless for the Dance

I’m sitting home while everyone else is at the dance. No one asked me to go. I knew this day would come but I thought it would be years from now.

Maggie didn’t want to go to the Girl Scout dance this year. She and I went together and then she and Elena and I went. Last year she announced that she would let me and Elena go alone this year. She’d said that the year before and then decided she wanted to go to.

Not this year. This year she told Kim that she just didn’t feel like going without Elena.

Me neither. There’s a lot of things I don’t feel like doing without Elena. But I still would have loved to have gone with Maggie.

They were as different at the dance as they were in every other aspect of their lives. Maggie dances like I do – very self-consciously as if she is counting every step – as if there is a right and a wrong way of dancing. Elena danced like her mother – with abandon as if the music is flowing through her – as if she was the personification of joy.

When we would go to the Boulevard Bash kids would be dancing to a DJ. I would point to Maggie’s friends up there dancing and ask her, “do you want to go up and dance?”

“No,” she’d say, “that’s ok.”

Once Elena started at Boulevard there was no holding her back. “Dad,” she’s say, “I’ll be right back. I’m going to dance with Sophie.”

“Excuse me?” I’d reply.

“There’s Sophie. We’re going to dance.”

“Do you mean, ‘Dad, can I go dance with Sophie’?”

“Yeah, yeah,” she’d say in words that look insolent on paper but were cute in person, “whatever.”

“Not ‘whatever’, you need to ask,” I said.

“OK. Daddy, may I please go dance with Sophie?” she smiled sweetly.

“Sure, we’ll be here.”

And she’d go over to Sophie who, I assume, would have the same sort of conversation with her parents. Then the two of them would run, hand in hand, to the dance area and find other friends to dance with.

I still see her dancing. Brushing her hair back every once in a while, head tipped back, taking all of the music in and converting it to pure enjoyment.

Published in: on January 27, 2007 at 8:55 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. [trying to post this again]

    I’ll always remember a lot of things about Elena, and one of them occurred when I was visiting the week before she died. I was sitting at the dining room table and turned around to see Elena in the corner of the living room, playing air guitar, singing to herself, and moving her body with unrestrained joy. The dance of Elena’s soul stays with me.

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